President throws down the gauntlet

22 Sep, 2016 - 00:09 0 Views
President throws down the gauntlet President Mugabe addresses the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York yesterday. (Picture by Presidential photographer)

The Herald

President Mugabe addresses the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York yesterday. (Picture by Presidential photographer)

President Mugabe addresses the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York yesterday. (Picture by Presidential photographer)

• Demands end to illegal sanctions • Counsels need for global peace, unity
Mabasa Sasa at the United Nations, NEW YORK—
Zimbabwe has laid the foundation to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through its own national economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, but implementation is being hampered by the evil and illegal Western sanctions regime, President Mugabe has said. Contributing to the UN General Assembly grand debate here yesterday, President Mugabe said Zim-Asset contained objectives in tandem with the SDGs, which are also referred to as Agenda 2030.

Zim-Asset came into force in 2013, a good two years before the global community agreed to adopt the SDGs. However, the continued imposition of illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies were making it difficult to roll out the programme as envisaged, President Mugabe noted.

While the European Union has relaxed aspects of its embargo, the US has not budged on its sanctions law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which was imposed in response to Harare’s decision to redistribute land held by 6 000 white farmers to 300 000 previously disadvantaged black families.

Zidera bars all international financial institutions in which the US has representation or shareholding from co-operating with Zimbabwe, contrary to claims that the sanctions are “targeted” at a few political elites. Yesterday, President Mugabe again threw down the gauntlet at the international community, highlighting the injustice of the sanctions and demanding an end to the illegal regime.

He told the UN General Assembly, “Our task of domesticating Agenda 2030 has been made relatively less challenging in that the vision and aspirations of our national economic blueprint and the global agenda are basically the same. Our biggest impediment to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda is the burden of the punitive and heinous sanctions imposed against us by some among us here.

“My country, Zimbabwe, is the innocent victim of spiteful sanctions imposed by the United States and other powers and these countries have for some reason maintained these sanctions for some 16 years now.

“As a country, we are being collectively punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter, that of sovereign independence. We are being punished for doing what all other nations have done, that is, possessing and owning their natural resources, and listening to and responding to the basic needs of our people.

“Those who have imposed these sanctions would rather have us pander to their interests at the expense of the basic needs of the majority of our people. As long as these economic and financial sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe’s capacity to fully and effectively implement Agenda 2030 is deeply curtailed.

“I repeat my call to Britain and the United States and their allies to remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people. We must all be bound by our commitments to Agenda 2030, under which we all agreed to eschew sanctions in favour of dialogue.”

While thanking outgoing UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon for his work over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government also challenged the comity of nations to uphold international agreements pertaining to a two-state solution that would end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory; and for the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara to be recognised.

Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony — ironically under the occupation of a fellow African country, Morocco. Morocco pulled out of the African Union (then the OAU) in 1984 after the continent condemned its colonisation of Western Sahara and the bloc recognised the North African nation as a state. President Mugabe, as he has done before, exhorted the international community to push through reforms of the UN Security Council.

He said, “For over 20 years, many of us have come to this rostrum, pleading and demanding for reforms of the Security Council. Today we are no closer to achieving that goal than we were 20 years ago. This is so in spite of the universal acknowledgement of the injustice, unfairness and inappropriateness of the current composition of the Security Council.

“We now have an opportunity, in the ongoing negotiations, in the intergovernmental negotiations, to redress this unjustifiable and unjust situation in the interests of a strong and more united organisation capable of delivering on its mandates.”

The five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power — as shaped by the immediate post-World War II balance of power — are Britain, China, France, Russia and the US.

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